the Arabic word for language is almost a language in itself

An Arabic saying claims that if you were to learn the Arabic language, you would become a maestro without the need for musical instruments.

“Takallam al Arabiyya wa ialam maaniha, takun musiqiyyan bidoon allaat musiqiyya.”

While we don’t expect these weekly Arabic word explorations to make you proficient in the language, we hope to inspire a fascination with its rhythms, expressions, and meanings. Or maybe even pushing yourself to learn the language.

But be careful, as another expression says: “Man taallam al lughat al Arabiyya iktashafa aamaaqan la yazalu yaghoosu feeha”. Whoever learns the Arabic language discovers depths in which he still plunges.

But back to the surface: lugha is Arabic for the language, and while you can say lughat al-Arabiya or just al-Arabiya to mean the Arabic language itself, it’s also known by all sorts of nicknames.

It is known as Lughat al-Quran, or the language of the Quran, because it is the liturgical language of Islam.

Early grammarians also called Arabic lughat al papa, or father’s tongue, after the letter, which is pronounced with an emphatic “d”.

Arabic is generally divided into two categories: fusha or classical Arabic, and al ammiyye or colloquial.

Ilm al lugha is the study of language. A grammarian or linguist for that matter is known as a lughawi. Kutub al lugha are language-related books, such as the dictionary (qamoos).

Al lugha al umm is a person’s native language.

Uhadi al lugha is monolingual. The bilingual, on the other hand, is thuna’iyyu al lugha.

Lughat al jism is body language. Lughat al aala is machine code in computer programming.

Lughat al uyoon or al quloob is the language of love or passion.

Lugha mayyita is a dead language which is no longer used (unlike this one).

Updated: August 12, 2022, 6:02 p.m.

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